Friday, April 2, 2010

What to wear when you can't think of what to do

I'm the type of person that is a planner and likes to adhere to etiquitte.  I'm writing this post as a sign of respect and I hope it will be useful to you when you are in a similiar situation - one where you focus on the mundane to keep from focusing on the larger more painful topics.

What do you wear to a funeral?

The most important consideration for what you are wearing is that you are there as a sign of respect and support.  Your clothing should reflect that, provide you with comfort and, if appropriate, align with your personality.

Black is the traditional color in Western societies but even this has changed in recent years.  It is now acceptable to wear any neutral or dark colors as long as the style of the outfit is conservative.  It is not the time for beading or sequins or high skirts or low necklines.  I would like to say that you could be consistent with what you would typically wear to church or a nice meal or business meeting but from what I've seen these are no longer good guidelines (although I think they should be!). Some color is acceptable but generally would not be the focus.  If the color is in your accessories or accents you should be within the bounds of propriety.

I plan on wearing a black dress like the one above or a black top and skirt.  Be sure to bring a sweater or a wrap of some sort.  In times of stress your body focuses resources to your core so you're sure to be cold even in warmer months.  Especially when there is air conditioning.  Maybe even tuck a pair of gloves in your bag just in case.

Becase you may be standing a lot and walking on different surfaces, it's best to wear a low heel or even dressy flats.  You do not want to have to worry about the fact that your feet are hurting and you can't sit down.  I have had to wait in very long (multiple hour) visitation lines and comfort was crucial.

If you will be going from the church to a cemetary service you may also want to have a small umbrella on hand as well.  My typical umbrellas are pink and Hello Kitty but I also have a small black travel umbrella that I can use.  Weather is so unpredictable that I prefer to cover all the bases.  This can be something you keep in your car or suitcase the rest of the year.  I'm from Florida so I never think you can have too many umbrellas.

Hats are another subject as well.  Hats and head coverings are historically appropriate.  From large brimmed mourning hats with full veils to small squares of lace, covering your head is another sign of respect. Even though hats are becoming seen more frequently, they should not be too ostentations either.  You are not here to be a focal point but to focus on saying good-bye.

Of course, different cultures have different customs and place different significance on other colors.  White and yellow in Asia, red and white is areas of Africa, tartans in Scotland.  Each has a unique meaning.  You may choose to wear a color or another reminder of the person.  If done out of love, honor and respect, that is always appropriate.


TheShoeGirl said...

Depressing and yet... still a good post. You're brilliant Poochie ♥

Anonymous said...

A very good post. Its something which does need thought about but that a lot of people feel guilty about paying attention to because of the sombre occasion.
Well addressed and thoughtful. Im sorry that its something u had to go through.

And on an off note, traditionally in scotland the Tartan is regarded as "Celebration wear" so more common in weddings etc. Excepting the irish influence where the traditional "Wake" is a celebration of the persons life, rather than a mourning of their loss. In which case the Tartan is worn.